Rescue Mission kicks off Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 12, 2018

Dave Ward seemingly had it all : a good job in the 1980s in his native state of Texas, making $80,000 a year. 

Then came the opioids and other substances that Ward was using - until he decided to flee from the suppliers of those drugs to Fort Wayne. 

He became estranged from his daughter and son. And Ward lost his lucrative job. He took a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant, but he could barely afford the clothes on his back. 

“I was sleeping outside,” said Ward, 62, who still has a soft Texas drawl though he’s been in northeast Indiana since 1986. “I had lost everything except my McDonald’s uniforms.” 

His was among three stories of homelessness shared Monday at The Rescue Mission, 301 W. Superior St., where the charity’s leaders kicked off National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. 

The Rev. Donovan Coley, the homeless shelter’s chief executive officer, outlined a five-point mission designed to raise awareness of homelessness and help those in trouble. Monday’s mission: Learn. 

“It’s all about putting the spotlight on what’s happening to a lot of people in the community,” he said. “It is when a person runs out of healthy relationships, that’s when they are more prone to becoming homeless.” 

Coley estimates there are at least 3,500 people who are homeless in Fort Wayne. Nearly 554,000 people are homeless in the U.S., according to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. 

In a news conference, Coley announced Ambassador Enterprises has pledged 23.1 million capital campaign aimed at constructing the previously announced new facility at East Washington Boulevard and Lafayette Street. The money represents the matching portion of a $1 million grant to The Rescue Mission from the Foellinger Foundation. 

Work is expected to begin on the 80,000-square-foot building in April, and it’s expected to open in 2020. 

Information about daily missions related to National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is posted on The Rescue Mission’s website, TheRescueMission.net/NHHAW. 

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette, or return to www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. 


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